RUTLAND Vermont is known as the whitest state in the union, according to U.S. census data. And the state continues to be dogged by rumors of white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan activities. The KKK organization was infamous for advocating racial supremacy and acting as vigilantes, under the anonymity of coneshaped masks and flowing white robes. The Klan was established by Confederate States military veterans following the Civil War. The Klan had a visible presence in Northern states until the 1930s; it became established in the Green Mountain State sometime during the late 1800s. A photograph apparently existed of a small, unmasked Klan picnic that took place in Rutland County during the 1930s; the photo has not been seen for more than a half century perhaps because local individuals in the image could be easily identified. The Klan was especially active in Vermont during the 1920s, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama organization that tracks and goes after the KKK. The center also said it may have a few members locally. In 2005, the law center alleged a chapter of the KKK was active in Castleton. News reports at the time said a web poster on a racist Internet site supplied a Bomoseen post office box mailing address for people interested in joining the Klan. However, Klan mailing addresses have been known to be used at a distance to divert attention. Currently, the law center lists onne KKK chapter in Vermont Rutland. According to the center, Vermont chapters may be holding either secret rallies, distributing leaflets, or recruiting members. The law center said the Rutland chapter had a post office box listed on a defunct Internet site of the Brotherhood of Klans Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. A 2007 news story reported that the Rutland City Police expressed doubts that the KKK was still operating in Rutland. Tonya Marie Jackson is a freelance investigative reporter living in West Haven, Vt. Her new book about the history of the Klan and racism in Vermont titled Burning Crosses in the Mountains will be published by Barton Books of Montreal, Que., in October.